Greetings! The rains continue. On Thursday, March 4th, I went out at 7.15am to celebrate Eucharist at the Carmelite Sisters Farm a few kms out of town.The river was in spate. About a foot of water was flowing rapidly over the bridge. As there was no parapet or protective walls on the bridge, I could not risk driving through the rushing water. A local man, in a truck, directed me and led me on an alternative route to the farm, going out to the main Rusape/Harare road and crossing the high bridge before taking the longer dirt road to the farm.While I arrived a half hour late, the Sisters were glad I made it. Sr. Thomas, the parish pastoral sister, celebrated her 75th birthday on Friday. The local women’s confraternity organised a Mass for her at 2.00pm followed by an African meal. I ate some goat! I was celebrant and homilist for the occasion.The Africans have a love of talking. Numerous people paid tribute to her work with the local community. Each speech was followed by a song or a verse from a hymn. Mr. Zuma, President of South Africa, accompanied by wife number three,(he has five), was hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. He had an entourage of two hundred. His efforts to get the sanctions against Zimbabwe lifted got a cold reception.The article below on land distribution is an indication of Government failure. Most of the redistributed land is unproductive. The same is true in Zimbabwe. However, there will be no audit or admission of failure here. The political hacks blame the sanctions for every failure. The sale of tickets for the World Cup Soccer, June 11th to July 11th, is way below expectation. Prices are drastically reduced.The downturn in the world economy and the fear of violence in South Africa are contributory factors. It is estimated that twenty thousand people are murdered annually. Love and best wishes The Irish Times – Thursday, March 4, 2010 ANC admits farm transfers to non-whites have failed BILL CORCORAN in Cape Town MORE THAN 90 per cent of the formerly white-owned farms the South African government bought to allocate to victims of apartheid have failed commercially, a government minister has said. Minister of rural development and land affairs Gugile Nkwinti said the land reform programme’s failure had prompted the government to abandon the initiative, as they would not reach the target of transferring 30 per cent of land to non-whites by 2014. Following the onset of democracy in 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) government established the flagship programme to redistribute the country’s land, the vast majority of which was in the possession of the white population, in an equitable manner. However, Mr Nkwinti told reporters in Cape Town: “The reality is that this has not happened. We have not talked about the revenue that the state has lost because farms totalling 5.9 million hectares, which were active and accruing revenue for the state, were handed over to people. “And more than 90 per cent of those farms are now not functional. They are not productive and the state loses revenue. “We cannot afford to go on like that.” The minister also warned beneficiaries of the redistribution programme who were leaving their farms unproductive that their land would be repossessed, in order to ensure agricultural output did not fall further. According to Mr Nkwinti, the main reason behind the land reform programme’s failure was that those who benefited did not have the skills “to continue producing effectively and optimally on the land”. He went on to say new proposals to turn around the now defunct initiative had already been drawn up and would be presented to cabinet for approval by the end of this month. They would then be made public by the end of May As a stopgap measure, the government had set aside just under €50 million this year to aid the farms currently in trouble. Included in the policy document, Mr Nkwinti added, would be a proposal to restrict foreign ownership of South African land, as non-nationals were buying it up three times faster than the government was able to acquire it for redistribution. The restriction of land ownership by non-South Africans was first mooted during the era of former South African president Thabo Mbeki, which ended in September 2008, but the government of the day never followed through on the proposal.